[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

I try not to go back to shows that ran for multiple seasons, preferring to focus only on the shows that premiered each year. But this... this deserves special mention. For this, the 985 season of The Smurfs, was the season that the Smurfs Jumped The Shark; the show started it's downward spiral here and never recovered.

The culprits, as is often the case with shows that Jump The Shark, was the inclusion of children and animals.

"The Smurflings" were a group of adult Smurfs who had been de-aged by Father Time's clock running backwards, and a little girl Smurf created the same way Smurfette had been made, only using less magical clay. Long story short - The Smurfs was now a show about dealing with these young Smurfs, rather than a show about the Smurfs themselves.

Also joining the cast this season was "Puppy", a thousand-year-old dog who remained young due to the magic locket he wears on his dog collar.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

At 9:00 on Saturday morning in 1985 was a cartoon that lasted only 2 seasons but went by up to 4 different names and had no less than 2 different theme songs, "Ewoks" (which also aired as "Star Wars: Ewoks), "The All-New Ewoks Adventures" and "The Ewoks & Droids Adventure Hour"). Depending on your geographic location, you may have seen an opening for the show that looked more like this:

(This is the one I always saw, and I think it has something to do with having watched on a Canadian TV station).

Produced by Canadian animation studio Nelvana, there were 35 different half-hour episodes produced that were meant as a continuation/sequel to the wildly popular made-for-TV live-action movies "Caravan Of Courage" and "Battle For Endor". The first season seems to have been written for actual Star Wars fans with intricate relationships, cross-over storylines and recurring characters that actually added to the mythology and history of the Ewoks and their little moon of Endor. The second season, supposedly at the request of the network and against the wishes of Lucasfilm, was aimed more at younger kids.

Ewoks had three things going for it that really elevated it from the gutters of having been the "Jar Jar" of the pre-prequels Star Wars universe* - it had continuity, it had no laugh-track, and it had an actual Series Finale.

The final episode, "Battle For The Sun Star", was actually aired out-of-order on Saturday mornings and was then later re-aired as a stand-alone special that officially marked the end of the series. The plot, which depicts the Empire discovering the moon of Endor and deciding to build the new Death Star in the same orbit around Endor, firmly places the Ewoks cartoon in official Star Wars cannon right between Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi (which is pretty darned cool if you ask me).

So what do you think? Any memories regarding the Ewoks? Leave 'em in the comments below :)

*(I had always wondered if Jar-Jar Binks could have somehow been redeemed with a single season of a "The Gungans" cartoon series...)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

1984 brought us a revolutionary cartoon on your local ABC affiliate at 9am, The Mighty Orbots! In short, it was a cartoon about a guy in the future who built some robots that could combine in to one giant robot to fight crime and it was AWESOME! [livejournal.com profile] aurora77recently gifted me with a delightfully high-quality bootleg DVD of the entire series and let me tell ya, this is one of the few 80's cartoons that COMPLETELY lives up to the hype in my head! Unlike most every other 1980's Saturday Morning cartoon, The Mighty Orbots got to have a resolutionary FINAL EPISODE where (SPOILER)The Bad Guys got blown up, which was the main struggle of every episode. The Robots and their personalities evolved through the series as well, which was just so refreshing - none of this "This week I learned a valuable lesson about the TRUE meaning of 'Family', which I vow to completely forget about by next episode" nonsense.

You may notice that with the animation and style and look of this show, it looks an awful lot like one of those Anime import dubs like Star Blazers or Robotech. And there's good reason for that...

The Mighty Orbots was created in a joint collaboration of TMS Entertainment and Intermedia Entertainment in association with MGM/UA Television. It was directed by veteran anime director Osamu Dezaki ("Astro Boy", "Lupin The 3rd") and features character designs by Akio Sugino ("Golgo 13", "Gaiking"). Produced by TMS Entertainment, the show ran for 13 very popular episodes - but not popular enough for it's time slot, directly opposed to the Saturday Morning Juggernaut known as The Smurfs. The (comparatively) poor ratings plus a lawsuit from Tonka Toys (who rightfully claimed that the BIG ROBOT looked *exactly* like their licensed Six God Combination Godmars (technically part of the GoBots line even though they never made a toy of it for the US as far as I know) lead to a single season of pure awesomeness :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Monchhichis was yet another "We want another show like The Smurfs" cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera for ABC that premiered at 9:00 in 1983. The Monchhichis were monkey-like creatures who lived in some weird forest land called Monchia at the very top of some very tall trees high above the clouds. The tribe's leader was Wizzar, a magical wizard who could make up spells and potions to defeat their enemy, the evil Grumplins of Grumplor.

Much like The Smurfs, The Monchichis were already a beloved property elsewhere before we got hold of them and made them STARS. The Monchichis were a line of Japanese stuffed toy monkeys from the Sekiguchi Corporation, first released in 1974. They became so popular that they even got their ow cartoon series in 1980, "Monchhichi Twins", which was nothing like the Hanna-Barbera Monchichis cartoon of 1983.

Moved to 8:00 in the spring of 1984, when it was combined with the Richie Rich and Little Rascals show.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

ABC Television brought us this, the SIXTH incarnation of Scooby-Doo, at 8:00 Saturday morning in 1983 courtesy of Hanna-Barbera. For those of you keeping score, THIS is the version that featured Scooby, Scrappy, Shaggy and the triumphant return of DAPHNE BLAKE, who hadn't been in an episode since 1979! They drove around the country solving supernatural mysteries (usually lasting only 11 minutes but occasionally being a two-part story that took the entire half-hour to complete).

It's my opinion that the newer "Mystery Incorporated" cartoon from Cartoon Network (which was absolutely BRILLIANT and you should go watch season 1 RIGHT NOW) borrowed heavily from this particular incarnation, with a bit more serious approach to the mysteries than before while also being slightly self-aware of just how silly this stuff could be. Moved to the 9am time slot in the Spring of 1984.

For the official 1984 Fall Season, they renamed the show to "The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries" and made no other changes to the show, just producing 13 more episodes. Moved to 10:30.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

I know so very little about this series! Looks like "Tenacious D: The Animated Series" to me. Yet another of the Marvel Productions attempts at a traditional Hanna-Barbera / Filmation action/comedy, The series centered on Meatballs & Spaghetti, a husband-and-wife singing duo who roamed the country in a mobile home with their friend Clyde (who was the bassist), and their dog Woofer (who was their drummer).

I have never seen an episode of this show... anybody care to share any thoughts about it?

Debuted in the 11:30 time slot of 1982, moved to 9am in the Spring of 1983, and then was *gone*.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Goldie Gold and Action Jack was a Ruby-Spears cartoon from 1981 that aired for 13 episodes at 10:00 Saturday mornings on ABC. It also aired at 9:00 starting in the Spring of 1982 (the second half of the season), and that's kind of important... remember what was so weird about the 1980 Saturday Morning line-up? NO CARTOONS STARTED AT 10:00! This is the first time I've ever had to use the 10:00 tag in this community, and it feels WEIRD!

This show woulda/coulda/shoulda been a prime-time action/comedy along the lines of "Moonlighting" (the TV show that introduced the world to that old guy from the new GI Joe movie - kids, ask your parents).

Goldie Gold was a super-rich and super-beautiful (teenage?) owner of a newspaper, Action Jack was her ace reporter friend (boy friend?). Each episode had them being pulled in to some random action-adventure that lead them to uncovering some great front-page news story.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

The Flintstones Comedy Show (not to be confused with the Flintstones Comedy HOUR of 1973) was on the air Saturday mornings from 9am till 10:30 (AN HOUR AND A HALF?!?!?) on your local NBC affiliate in 1980. This revival of the classic Hanna-Barbera stone-age family featured six different segments: The Flintstone Family Adventures (standard Flintstones stories featuring the Flinstones & the Rubbles doing late-70's/early-80's stuff), Bedrock Cops (Fred and Barney are now police officers assisted by the Shmoo as a trainee under the direction of Sgt. Boulder), Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm (Teenage Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm solving mysteries with Dino, in the tried-and-true HB Scooby-Doo formula), Captain Caveman (a prequel to the 1970's "Captain Cave-Man & The Teen-Angels" cartoon that showed Captain Caveman in his natural stone-age setting), Dino and Cavemouse (The Flintstones version of Tom & Jerry), and The Frankenstones (a hybrid of The Addams Family, The Munsters and The Flintstones).

My biggest complaint about this cartoon was that it seemed to be on ALL MORNING LONG. Flintstones were okay in small doses, but 90 MINUTES??? Three different half-hour time slots where I could have been seeing ANYTHING ELSE??? Nope, that's too much.

(Also aired in a much shorter 30-minute version at 8:00 in 1981/1982, and then as "The Flintstone Funnies" from 1982 till 1984 - check out the hilariously inept re-working of the intro!)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

(Cross posted from Tumblr)

Starting at 9am on Saturday Morning at your local CBS affiliate, you could see the long-running Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Show! This cartoon show, which was just a repackaging of Warner Brothers cartoons that had been produced up till 1962, bounced around the Saturday Morning TV dial so often you never really knew what channel it was going to show up on. But in the morning of 1980, it was on CBS...and it was like a Rosetta Stone of Childhood Memories. Parents, grandparents, older siblings... EVERYBODY knew the 5-to-8-minute adventures of Bugs Bunny and friends and so this cartoon was a common language that could bring generations together :)

(Also ran at 9:00 in 1981, 9:30 in 1982/1983)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

(Cross Posted from Tumblr)

At 9am Saturday morning over on your local ABC affiliate station in 1980 you could tune in to see one of my all-time favorite BIZARRE CARTOONS of all time, “THE FONZ AND THE HAPPY DAYS GANG”. Originally broadcast from November 8, 1980 until September 18, 1982, this show was pretty darned incredible. If you can disassociate the show from it’s prime-time origins (“The Fonz” has a product of the popular sitcom “Happy Days”), what you have is a story about a 1950’s “Greaser” with semi-magical powers traveling through time trying to set things straight with the help of a super-evolved dog that is capable of walking up-right and rudimentary speech, his two straight-laced Teenage friends and a girl from the farthest reaches of time and space who has provided them all with a Time Machine so that they can hopefully reset the time lines and return them all to 1957 where they belong.

This show is more “Doctor Who” than “American Animated Sit-Com”! Give it a try some time!

(also aired at 9:00 in 1981)


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1980's Saturday Morning Historical Preservation Society

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